Background Exercise-induced pulmonary hypertension is common in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction ( HF p EF ). We hypothesized that this could result in pericardial constraint and diastolic ventricular interaction in some patients during exercise. Methods and Results Contrast stress echocardiography was performed in 30 HF p EF patients, 17 hypertensive controls, and 17 normotensive controls (healthy). Cardiac volumes, and normalized radius of curvature ( NRC ) of the interventricular septum at end-diastole and end-systole, were measured at rest and peak-exercise, and compared between the groups. The septum was circular at rest in all 3 groups at end-diastole. At peak-exercise, end-systolic NRC increased to 1.47±0.05 ( P<0.001) in HF p EF patients, confirming development of pulmonary hypertension. End-diastolic NRC also increased to 1.54±0.07 ( P<0.001) in HF p EF patients, indicating septal flattening, and this correlated significantly with end-systolic NRC (ρ=0.51, P=0.007). In hypertensive controls and healthy controls, peak-exercise end-systolic NRC increased, but this was significantly less than observed in HF p EF patients ( HF p EF , P=0.02 versus hypertensive controls; P<0.001 versus healthy). There were also small, non-significant increases in end-diastolic NRC in both groups (hypertensive controls, +0.17±0.05, P=0.38; healthy, +0.06±0.03, P=0.93). In HF p EF patients, peak-exercise end-diastolic NRC also negatively correlated ( r=-0.40, P<0.05) with the change in left ventricular end-diastolic volume with exercise (ie, the Frank-Starling mechanism), and a trend was noted towards a negative correlation with change in stroke volume ( r=-0.36, P=0.08). Conclusions Exercise pulmonary hypertension causes substantial diastolic ventricular interaction on exercise in some patients with HF p EF , and this restriction to left ventricular filling by the right ventricle exacerbates the pre-existing impaired Frank-Starling response in these patients.
- diastolic ventricular interaction
- exercise pulmonary hypertension
- heart failure
- Heart failure
- Exercise pulmonary hypertension
- Diastolic ventricular interaction